|Milton Friedman - Negative Income Tax|
We developed all these fancy labor saving devices to make people's lives easier, but what many of those machines have done is they have replaced zillions of factory workers. Those factory workers lives are easier now that they don't have to work, but their lives are also much harder now because they don't have any income to pay for their living expenses. What automation has done is make lives easier for the people who own the machines.
Maybe we need to adjust corporate tax rates based on how many people are employed. Every time you reduce your work force, your tax rate goes up. But our tax code is already horribly complicated, so I don't like that idea. Tax accountants and lawyers are probably in favor of new tax laws, it makes their job more secure.
I like the idea of a negative income tax. We could get rid of welfare, pensions, Social Security, minimum wage requirements and all the other social support programs and just replace them all with the negative income tax.
If a quarter of the people in the country need support (80 million) and they each need $500 a month, that comes to $500 billion dollars. That's a chunk of change but far less than these stimulus bills that are getting passed, and it's probably less that we are already paying out for our patchwork system of ritual humiliation at the hands of bureaucrats.